of Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
August 2, 2004
Holy Prophet Elias
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
I thank all
of you from all my heart for your love and holy prayers for my health!
completed the course of chemotherapy for cancer. Last week, after
a complete examination, no signs of cancer or other growths were
found. Glory to God that this exceedingly difficult therapy is over!
The only thing
that still bothers me is the occasional intestinal pain in the area
where the cancer was removed. My physicians believe that this is
either a pinched muscle or a nerve that regenerated incorrectly.
In the near future the doctors hope that they will eliminate the
cause of these pains, or that they will cease on their own.
Now, with Godís
help, I am gradually regaining strength, and will serve more often
and become more active. Still, I will need to look after my health
and get a hospital checkup every three months to guard against new
For this reason
I will only be able to make one or two brief visits to South America.
I hope to make more extensive trips throughout the diocese next
year. I thank everyone for their understanding and patience!
Now I wish
to say a few words on current church events. Firstly, I ask everyone
to abide in peace and unity of mind. Nothing is threatening our
Church, everything is proceeding well and properly.
I am gladdened
by the discussions and meetings occurring now between our committee
and the committee of the Moscow Patriarchate on the matter of the
rapprochement of our Churches. These discussions are being held
in complete seriousness, in a business-like and amicable atmosphere.
One of the
participants of these discussions, Archimandrite Luke, described
discussions] [t]here were absolutely no attempts made to smooth
over or black out the complicated matters of the relationship between
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate,
including Sergianism, ecumenism and other vital, burning questions.
The Committee of the Moscow Patriarchate frankly expressed its position
on the matters in question, and in a general sense we often reached
a common opinion… The general atmosphere of the discussions in Germany
and Moscow was that of seriousness and sobriety… Never was there
felt a desire to hastily resolve problems for gain.”
For this reason
the fear among some of our clergymen and laity on these discussions
are baseless, although for me entirely understandable: fear of communism,
which seized our much-suffering homeland, and the mistrust towards
the church that had been enslaved there at one time were “taken
in with our motherís milk.” But, glory to God, the godless state
fell and crumbled, as ashes in the wind.
feel that discussions on complete unification with the Moscow Patriarchate
would be premature. In the situation that has developed, our Church
Abroad must preserve its administrative independence and complete
uncompromising stance in matters of principle. The discussions should
concentrate on the rapprochement between our Churches, the cessation
of all enmity and the establishment of Eucharistic communion. This
is not only desirable, but necessary.
It would be
sinful on our part to ignore that heretofore unseen spiritual elevation,
the ubiquitous renascence we observe in Russia now. Even worse would
be active opposition to the spiritual nearing of the two branches
of the once-united Russian Church and to insist on the continuation
of war “to the last drop of blood.” Such an antagonistic attitude
is entirely unfounded even on the basis of the fact that at each
divine service we pray for the “union of the holy Churches of God.”
With whom, one might ask, should we draw closer and work together,
if not our own brethren by blood and by faith?!
which is happening in Russia now is a miracle of the Omnipotent
God, for which we had prayed over the course of our 80 years of
exile. Seeing the changes occurring in Russia now, I am convinced
that our New Martyrs did not spill their blood for naught. Their
blood is, in the words of the Christian apologist of old, the seed
of the birth of new Christians.
And so, my
beloved ones, I ask you to case aside unneeded worries, brought
upon us by the enemy of the mankind, who sleeps not in seeking paths
to break us apart and cause disagreement among us. Let us pray that
the discussions between our Churches serve towards the glory of
God and the strengthening of our Church.
I feel that
the spiritual condition now has more that ripened for rapprochement
between our Churches, and so it is necessary to make every effort
to establish amicable relationsóthis is our sacred duty. The time
has come to heal the wounds inflicted upon the Church by the godless
I ask the Reverend Rectors of the South American Diocese, and also
active parishioners, to distribute this epistle as widely as possible.
May the Lord
bless all of you!
With love in